Earth Day was established in 1970 with the concept of focusing attention on environmental issues around the world, which currently includes 192 countries that highlight green and sustainable messages.
But 2014 brings an added urgency to combat climate change after a series of dire reports from the Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientific body, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned that human inaction to curb carbon emissions would be catastrophic.
Media attention has been gradually shedding the ultraconservative and politically-induced stigma attached to the subject of climate change, which manifests itself in patterns of anomalous weather caused by a warming atmosphere that contains trapped carbon dioxide pollution.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” has not shied away from bringing up the subject on several occasions, to the ire of religious conservatives.
Most recently, climate change is front and center in a new documentary-style series that recently debuted on Showtime, “Years of Living Dangerously,” which brings together an impressive array of celebrities, top-notch movie producers, directors and photographers to tell the alarming story of climate change impacts on the only home mankind has; Earth.
Executive producers James Cameron, David Gelber, Joel Bach were joined by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The collaboration began to open doors immediately to celebrities like Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, Jessica Alba and top-notch journalists like Tom Friedman of The New York Times, Lesley Stahl of 60 minutes and Chris Hayes from MSNBC.
Climate change, they say, is the greatest story ever ignored and they plan to help correct that mistake.
Each series is told in three parts, bringing together the devastating impacts of global warming from various regions of the world, revealing harsh and unrelenting effects on people’s lives.
In the first episode, according to a report in the Daily News, Harrison Ford tells about the illegal deforestation and slash-burning that has run rampant in Indonesia for years, which not only reduces the number of trees to cleanse the atmosphere of C02, but pumps massive amounts of pollution-laden smoke from burning forests and peat back into the air.
Don Cheadle narrated one of the most fascinating segments with the discovery of an evangelical climate scientist in Texas, Katharine Hayhoe, who doesn’t see her religion and climate change at odds with each other. She said, indeed, God is allowing climate change to happen, because he gave humans free will and the brains to make better choices.
Tom Friedman explored the connection between violence incited in Syria, with a 4-year drought and the associated stress of water scarcity across the Middle East.
Furthermore, on Earth Day, environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council are using the platform to enhance their environmental message to protect wildlife, the environment and fight climate change with various celebrations and educational events around the world.
In addition, practical suggestions are offered with energy conservation in mind for everyday use by families and individuals.
EcoWatch lists the following ideas that anyone can do to reduce their carbon footprint:
1. Take steps to make your home more airtight and reduce leaks.
2. Install power strips in your home and office, to automatically shut off computers and printers.
3. Upgrade your refrigerator and air-condition with energy efficient models.
4. Use and electricity monitor to see where the energy hogs in your house are located.
5. Use LED light bulbs, which last longer and are more efficient.
6. Use cold water when doing laundry.
7. Buy a fuel-efficient car.
8. Eat less beef products.
9. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
Environmentalists say the message of Earth Day should be a conscious effort every day of the year to conserve energy.
In addition, climate change, one of the most pressing dangers the world will experience, must be treated seriously by global governments, with far less complacency and much more urgent action.